How to get into Columbia University

What you need to know

Strategy for getting into Columbia

Columbia University is the only Ivy League school located in New York City. It has two undergraduate schools: the Engineering College and Columbia College, as well as cross-course registration and degree granting for two other undergraduate schools: Barnard College and the Columbia School of General Studies.

Schedule time with a college admissions specialist to evaluate your candidacy and determine how to get into your top choice school.

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  School Specific Essay Questions

What you need to know

Columbia University application essay tips

Students considering the school should certainly discuss specific features of Columbia in their essays. They should highlight points like the school in which they aim to study and why, why the undergraduate core curriculum appeals to them, and what specific draw or connection the student has with Columbia’s location in New York City.

Essay Prompts

The 2015-2016 Columbia Writing Supplement is available through the Common Application. You are welcome to familiarize yourself with the Columbia-specific questions:

In 150 words or fewer, please briefly describe which single activity listed in the Activity section of your application are you most proud of and why.

Please list the following (150 words or fewer for each question):

  • the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year
  • the titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year
  • the titles of print or electronic publications you read regularly
  • the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year

It is not necessary to italicize or underline books or other publications. Author names may be included, but are not required. You may use semicolons or colons instead of line breaks to separate items. Lists do not need to be numbered or in any specific order.

Please answer the following short answer questions (300 words or fewer for each question):

  • Tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why.
  • If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time.
  • If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section.

  School Standardized Testing Stats

What you need to know

The average SAT score composite at Columbia University is a 2215.

Section Average 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
Reading 735 690 780
Math 745 700 790
Writing 735 690 780
Composite 2215 2080 2350